West and Northeast Employers Most Optimistic About Hiring Plans, Survey Finds

Jun 6, 2007

MENLO PARK, CA -- Chief information officers (CIOs) project an uptick in the hiring of information technology (IT) professionals in the third quarter of 2007, according to the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills ReportSeventeen percent of executives surveyed plan to add IT staff in the next three months and 2 percent foresee personnel cutbacks.  The net 15 percent increase, the highest since the fourth quarter of 2001, is up three percentage points from the previous quarter’s projection.

The national poll includes responses from more than 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees.  It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis.  The company has been tracking IT hiring activity in the United States since 1995.

Key Findings

  • Firms in the Pacific1 region plan the strongest hiring activity in the third quarter.
  • Business growth remains the top reason companies are adding IT staff.
  • Help desk/end-user support is the job category experiencing the most growth.
  • CIOs in the wholesale sector are most optimistic about employment gains.

“In the course of expanding operations, many companies are investing in technology initiatives that require IT professionals with a range of development and support skills,” said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology.  “This has intensified competition for top talent, prompting firms to expedite their hiring processes and devote greater resources to attracting and retaining employees.”

Thirty-nine percent of CIOs who plan to hire said corporate growth or expansion is the primary factor driving their need for more staff.  Twenty-seven percent cited demand for increased customer and/or end-user support.  The installation or development of new enterprisewide applications, and systems upgrades each received 12 percent of the response.

Skills in Demand

Microsoft Windows administration (Server 2000/2003) remains the most sought-after skill set, cited by 79 percent of executives polled.  Network administration (Cisco, Nortel) received 72 percent of the response, followed by database management (Oracle, SQL Server, DB2) at 64 percent.  (Note: CIOs surveyed were allowed multiple responses.) 

The overall job category experiencing the most growth is help desk/end-user support, cited by 21 percent of CIOs surveyed.  Other positions in demand included networking (14 percent), applications development (11 percent) and data/database management (11 percent).

Regional Outlook

Technology executives in the Pacific states are most optimistic about hiring in the third quarter.  Twenty-one percent plan to expand their IT departments and just 1 percent anticipate personnel reductions.  The net 20 percent increase is up four percentage points from the region’s second-quarter forecast and is five percentage points above the national average.

“On the West Coast, existing firms and emerging companies alike are enhancing services and upgrading technologies,” Lee said.  “This has resulted in high demand for skilled IT professionals, especially systems administrators, database professionals, and web and applications programmers.”

Employment gains for the Middle Atlantic2and New England3 states also are expected to exceed the national average.  CIOs in both regions anticipate a net 19 percent hiring increase.  “There is competition for individuals with skill sets such as web and software development, business systems analysis, and database management,” Lee commented.

Robert Half Technology has conducted additional CIO interviews in major metropolitan areas to provide more detailed analyses of IT hiring trends in these markets.  The local results are available at

Industries Hiring

CIOs in the wholesale sector forecast the most robust hiring activity in the third quarter.  Twenty-four percent of CIOs from this segment plan to add IT staff and none foresee personnel cutbacks.  Respondents from the wholesale sector indicated that their greatest need is for database management and administration skills (Oracle, SQL Server, DB2), as well as Windows administration (Server 2000/2003) expertise.

Technology executives in the retail and transportation industries also anticipate solid employment gains.  Executives in each sector project a net 16 percent hiring increase in the next three months.

With more than 100 locations in North America, Europe and Asia, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis, for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support.  For more information about Robert Half Technology or to learn about online job search opportunities, please visit

National Hiring IT Projections

IT Hiring Index: Two-Year History

Hot IT Jobs

IT Skills in Demand

Factors Driving IT Hiring

IT Hiring Projections by Region

IT Hiring Projections by Industry

IT Hiring Projections by Metro Market

1 Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington
2 New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania
3 Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

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